Summer and fall habitat selection by mature, male, white-tailed deer in southern Texas



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Texas Tech University


The economic value of white-tailed deer, potential for negative impacts from brush management on deer herds, and differential habitat requirements between the sexes provided the justification for research on specific habitat selection and preference patterns of mature, male, white-tailed deer in southern Texas.

Thirteen mature, male, white-tailed deer were captured, radio-collared, and tracked over 2 years during the summer (1 June - 22 September) and fall (24 September – 12 November) seasons. Structural attributes of the vegetation were measured on areas with high use and no use by deer. Comparisons between levels of use indicated that deer selected sites that had high (> 90%) total woody canopy cover, tall (« 1.6 m) woody canopy, ,and a high diversity of woody species (11 - 20 species). Results in the first year indicated that high horizontal foliar density also may be important at 0.30 - 0.61, 1.22 - 1.52, and 1.52 - 1.83 m height intervals.

Specific attributes of the habitat also were coded into computer-generated data bases for analysis of habitat preference. Deer preferred areas with high soil diversity, slopes, and edges between slopes and drainages. Areas close to roads and areas that had been mechanically treated for brush control were avoided. No preference or avoidance was noted for distance to free water.

A package of stand-alone programs designed to facilitate habitat use analyses was developed. The programs allow entry, editing, and analysis of habitat and telemetry data using 3 statistical tests.



Deer -- Habitat -- Texas -- Data processing, White-tailed deer -- Habitat -- Data processing